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Must Be Santa (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Must Be Santa" is a Christmas song written by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks[1] and first released in November 1960 by Mitch Miller on Columbia 41814 (45 rpm).[2] A cover version by Tommy Steele reached Number 40 on the UK Singles Chart a year later.[3] Another cover, by Joan Regan made number 42 a week later.[4]

Based on a German drinking song[2] (the Schnitzelbank song), "Must Be Santa" is structured as a call and response, with the lead singer posing the question of who has a certain feature, with a chorus responding that Santa Claus has said feature. After every other verse, the list of features mentioned up to that point is reiterated, followed by the chorus of "must be Santa" repeated three times and ending with "Santa Claus."


Lead singer: Who laughs this way, ho ho ho?
Chorus: Santa laughs this way, ho ho ho!
All: Ho ho ho, cherry nose, cap on head, suit that's red...

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • It Must Be Santa | Children's Christmas Song
  • Must Be Santa
  • Bryan Adams - Must Be Santa (Lyric Video)
  • Must Be Santa | Claus | Christmas Songs for Kids | The Kiboomers | Kindergarten | Preschool
  • Mitch Miller "Must Be Santa"


Bob Dylan version

In November 2009, Bob Dylan released a version of the song in a polka-meets-klezmer style (based on an arrangement by Brave Combo, whose version he had played on Theme Time Radio Hour) for his Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart.[5] The New York Daily News described Dylan's version as such: "It's sort of unclear if Dylan (...) was aiming to celebrate the holiday, or gently poke fun at the music's Norman Rockwell-esque simplicity."[6] Following Brave Combo's lead, the lyrics in Dylan's version mix in the names of several United States presidents with a list of Santa's reindeer (e.g., "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen / Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton"). 11 years after its release, "Must Be Santa" placed 24th in a Rolling Stone article about the "25 Best Bob Dylan Songs of the 21st Century" where critic Amanda Martoccio called the song "zany" and the "centerpiece" of Christmas in the Heart.[7]

Nash Edgerton directed an official music video for "Must Be Santa", described as "bonkers" by Martoccio, in which Dylan lip synchs the song at a raucous Christmas house party with other holiday revelers. Count Smokula makes an unexpected appearance as an accordion player, miming the accordion part that David Hidalgo played on the actual recording.[8] As of Christmastime 2020, the video had been viewed over six-and-a-half million times on YouTube, significantly more times than the next most popular versions of the song (i.e., those recorded by Mitch Miller, Raffi and Brave Combo).[9] "Must Be Santa" was also released as a music video ecard[10] and a 7" single, the b-side of which is a recording of Dylan reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that was first broadcast on Theme Time Radio Hour.[11]

She & Him version

Indie folk duo She & Him included a version of the song on their 2016 album Christmas Party. Based on Dylan's version, it updates the list of presidents to include both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


  1. ^ "Repertoire Search | Must Be Santa". BMI. Retrieved June 29, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Reviews Of This Week's Singles". The Billboard. November 7, 1960. p. 46. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved December 3, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Tommy Steele". UK Chart Archive. Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Songfacts. "Must Be Santa by Bob Dylan - Songfacts". Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  6. ^ Sheridan, Michael (November 16, 2009). "Bob Dylan's 'Must Be Santa' music video is one bizarre Christmas treat". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 6, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Jon Dolan,Patrick Doyle,Andy Greene,Brian Hiatt,Angie Martoccio,Rob Sheffield,Hank Shteamer,Simon; Dolan, Jon; Doyle, Patrick; Greene, Andy; Hiatt, Brian; Martoccio, Angie; Sheffield, Rob; Shteamer, Hank; Vozick-Levinson, Simon (2020-06-18). "The 25 Best Bob Dylan Songs of the 21st Century". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  8. ^ "Bob Dylan - It Must Be Santa (2009)". IMVDb. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  9. ^ "Bob Dylan - Must Be Santa (Official Video) - YouTube". Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  10. ^ "eCard Music Video – Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart". Archived from the original on 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  11. ^ "2009". Retrieved 2021-03-06.

This page was last edited on 4 May 2021, at 04:09
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